Knowledge base



A small river.


The variety of ecosystems and living organisms (species), including genetic variation within species.


Broadleaved trees are characterised by their broad leaves and most are deciduous.  They produce ‘hardwood’ timber.


Frequently flooded woodland or scrub that is typically dominated by alder or willow.


The green substance in plants that allows them to use energy from the sun.


Cutting down of an area of woodland (if it is within a larger area of woodland it is typically a felling greater than 0.25 ha).  Sometimes a scatter or small clumps of trees may be left standing within the felled area.


The covering made of soft smooth threads that surrounds and protects particular insects during the pupa stage as they develop into adult form.


Coniferous trees are characterised by their needle or scale-like leaves and most are evergreen.  They produce ‘softwood’ timber.


Management based on regeneration by re-growth from cut stumps (coppice stools).  The same stool is used through several cycles of cutting and re-growth.

Coppice with standards

Coppice with a scatter of trees of seedling or coppice origin, grown on a long rotation to produce larger sized timber and to regenerate new seedlings to replace worn out stools.


All types of wood that are dead including whole or wind-snapped standing trees, fallen branch wood and stumps, decaying wood habitats on living trees such as rot holes, dead limbs, decay columns in trunks and limbs, and wood below the ground as roots or stumps.


A community of plants and animals (including humans) interacting with each other and the forces of nature.


An exuvia (plural exuviae) is the cast-off outer skin of an arthropod after a moult.

Felling licence

Licence issued by the relevant forestry authority to permit trees to be felled.  With certain exceptions it is illegal to fell trees without prior approval.


The science and art of managing woodlands.


Small area of open ground which forms an integral part of the woodland.


A unit of measurement of an area of land (10,000 m2).

Invasive (species)

Introduced non-native species which spread readily and dominate native species.


An animal with no spine e.g. earthworm, midge.

Minimum intervention

Management with no systematic felling or planting of trees.  Operations normally permitted are fencing, control of exotic plant species and vertebrate pests, maintenance of paths and rides, and safety work.

Native (species)

A species that has arrived and inhabited an area naturally, without deliberate assistance by man, or would occur had it not been removed through past management.  For trees and shrubs in the UK this is usually taken to mean those species present after post-glacial recolonisation and before historic times.  Some species are only native in particular regions.  Differences in characteristics and adaptation to conditions occur more locally hence the term ‘locally native’.

Non-timber woodland products (NWTP)

Non-timber woodland products include foliage, moss, fungi, berries, seed, venison and other animal products.  Also known as non-timber forest products (NTFP).


Any substance which plants or animals need in order to live and grow.


An animal or plant that lives on or in another animal or plant of a different type and feeds from it.


Plantation on ancient woodland site.

Permissive (access/use)

Use is by permission whether written or implied, rather than by right.

Pioneer (species)

Hardy species which are the first to colonise previously disrupted or damaged ecosystems, beginning a chain of ecological succession that ultimately leads to a more biodiverse steady-state ecosystem.


Location of trees from which seed or cuttings are collected.  Designation of Regions of Provenance under the Forest Reproductive Materials regulations is used to help nurseries and growers select suitable material.  The term is often confused with ‘origin’ which is the original natural genetic source.

Public Rights of Way

Public Rights of Way are statutory rights of way in England and Wales and are recorded on Definitive Maps held by local authorities showing whether the right of way is by foot, horse or vehicle.


Renewal of woodland through sowing, planting, or natural regeneration.


Replacing felled areas by sowing seed, planting or natural regeneration.


Permanent unsurfaced access route through woodland.


Saproxylic organisms depend, during part of their life cycle, on dead or dying wood from standing or fallen dead or dying trees.


Short trees and bushes, growing on dry ground of low quality.


The techniques of tending and regenerating woodlands, and harvesting their physical products.


A lawn or meadow.


Tree removal, which results in a temporary reduction in basal area, made after canopy closure to promote growth and greater value in the remaining trees.


The planting of young trees under the canopy of an existing stand – often combined with a shelterwood or group selection system.

Veteran tree

A tree that is of interest biologically, culturally or aesthetically because of its age, size or condition, including the presence of deadwood micro-habitats.


Predominantly tree covered land whether in large tracts (generally called forests) or smaller units (known by a variety of terms such as woodlands, woods, copses and shelterbelts).

Those woodlands which are comprised mainly of locally native trees and shrubs, and have some structural characteristics of natural woodland are referred to as semi- natural woodland.

Those woodlands which are derived principally from the human activity of planting, sowing or intensive silvicultural treatment but lack most of the principal characteristics and key elements of semi-natural woodland are generally referred to as plantations or woodlands of planted origin.  They often include a proportion of naturally regenerated trees and are often managed to become more like natural woodlands over time.

Woodland is referred to as ancient woodland when it has been in continuous existence since before AD 1600 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or since before AD 1750 in Scotland.

The term ancient semi-natural woodland (ASNW) is used to describe those semi-natural stands on ancient woodland sites.  The precise definition varies according to the local circumstances in each nation within the United Kingdom and guidance should be sought from the relevant forestry authority.

The term ancient woodland site refers to the site of an ancient woodland irrespective of its current tree cover.  Where the native tree cover has been felled and replaced by planting of tree species not native to the site it is referred to as a plantation on ancient woodland site (PAWS).

Woodland management plan

The collection of documents, reports, records and maps that describe, justify and regulate the activities carried out by any manager, staff or organisation in a management unit, including statements of objectives and policies.

Woodland management unit (WMU)

The woodland management unit (WMU) is the area to which the management planning documentation relates.  A WMU is a clearly defined woodland area, or areas, with mapped boundaries, managed to a set of explicit long term objectives.